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Autry’s Words Surprise Rader : Angels: Manager says he had not been told his job might be in jeopardy.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Angel Manager Doug Rader said Friday he had not been told his job might be in jeopardy, despite Jackie Autry’s disclosure that club executives have considered firing him.

Rumors of Rader’s impending dismissal began circulating this week. They gained credence when Autry, the Angels’ executive vice president and the wife of owner Gene Autry, told The Times that the possibility had been discussed but no decision had been reached.

Recent events have thrust Rader into a position he described as “uncomfortable,” but he acknowledged he is accountable for what has so far been a season of failed expectations. The Angels opened a three-game series against the Oakland A’s Friday night having lost seven of their previous eight games, a skid that plunged them into last place in the AL West, 11 games behind the Minnesota Twins.

“If things don’t work out the way other people had hoped, I’m certainly going to suffer for it,” he said.

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Asked if he would prefer immediate and definitive word on his fate, Rader said, “From a courtesy standpoint, I think something ought to be done.”

However, he later added that he would not initiate any discussions with the Angels’ management. “Never happen,” he said.

The only good to come out of this, Rader said, was the emphatic backing he has received from his players. Wally Joyner said firing Rader would be “a mistake,” while Dave Parker said such a move would be “foolish.”

“It makes me feel good because the players mean everything to me,” Rader said. “To know that they feel kindly toward me is great.”

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How he feels will remain private.

“What I’m thinking, I can’t say. I think when a manager gets put in a position like this, the way he feels has very little importance,” Rader said. “It’s so hard to even comment because I haven’t talked to anybody. I read things, I hear things. . . . So how can I comment on things that are all second hand? That’s why it’s so awkward.”

Oakland Manager Tony La Russa, a longtime friend, empathized with Rader’s plight.

“Suppose they run off a 10- or 12-game winning streak. They’re just a streak away from being right back in it. Then what happens?” La Russa said. “I appreciate the confidence the players are showing in him. I’ve read the quotes. You like to have the respect or support of the players and other people in the league.

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“The way I see it, the Angels are a very dangerous club to play. They could turn it around at any second. I just hope they wait until Monday.”


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